Independence Day Celebration
Commonwealth Declines to Request
Indictment for Man Charged With Assaulting Lynchburg Police Officers
On July 2, 2001the Lynchburg Commonwealth Attorney’s Office announced that
it would decline to present to the grand jury for the City of Lynchburg,
Virginia two felony charges against a Lynchburg man charged with assaulting
two police officers on March 29, 2001.
Thomas H. Roberts, civil rights attorney from Richmond, representing Craig
Morris, praised the decision, stating that the Commonwealth Attorney’s
decision was not only courageous but the right thing to do. The testimony of
the two officers claiming Morris assaulted them provided seriously conflicting
accounts. But more important than the conflicting accounts, is the fact that the
law simply does not support the charges levied against Craig Morris.
Craig Morris, a black male, expressed his opinion that he did not appreciated
being harassed by the police when he had not committed a crime. The officers
claimed that he was arrested for using the term "f_ck," when Morris
asked why he was being harassed. Nevertheless the officers admitted that the
term was one they used themselves on other occasions. Roberts argued that Morris
had a right to express his commentary on police conduct and argued that the
arrest was unlawful and therefore under common law long recognized by the
Supreme Court of Virginia, Morris had every right to use reasonable force to
repel the unlawful arrest. The fact that the officers took Morris into
custody demonstrates that he should have used more force, since he did not repel
the officers. Witnesses to the event claim that Morris was beaten by the
officers and that he did not resist or use any force and that any injuries to
the officers were inflicted upon themselves as they beat Morris. The
officers admitted that he was walking away from them when they attempted to
arrest him and blinded him with pepper spray before striking him several times. Morris
is being treated for head injuries and other wounds from the multiple blows he
Roberts stated that he will continue to represent Morris in order to hold the
officers accountable under the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteen Amendments to
the Constitution. Roberts concluded, "As we celebrate our independence
we cannot stand idly by to see the tyranny of England replaced by a tyranny from
# # #
Thomas H. Roberts, Esq.
Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C.
105 S. 1st Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
The facts and circumstances of each case are unique and
therefore the fact that a law firm has obtained significant verdicts and results
in other cases in no way guarantees that other cases will have similar results.